In 1 Corinthians 10:25-29, Paul gives us an example of what he wrote in verses 23 and 24: that even though something may be appropriate for us to do, does not give us the liberty to do it if it harms and unsaved person. The example which Paul gives to the Corinthians involves eating meat which had been offered to idols. There was a dispute among people in the church whether it was appropriate for a Christian to eat meat which had been offered to false gods. Stronger Christians understood what Paul says in verse 26, that the earth was the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. Weaker Christians thought that the meat had been somewhat cursed because of it’s prior offering. Stronger Christians were ordered to not eat this mean (in spite of nothing being wrong with the meat itself) for the sake of the weaker Christians. That goes hand in hand with Paul’s example of eating meat in the following verses.
1 Corinthians 10:25-29 “Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake: For the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof. If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast , and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake. But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof: Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man’s conscience?”
First, what is meant by shambles? This is what they called the meat market. Meats were brought here to be sold. Some of it had been offered to idols; other meat there had not. Paul says for the Corinthians to not make an issue of whether it is offered or not when they buy meat at the market, for conscience sake. Keep in mind when Paul says for conscience sake, he’s not referring to Christian conscience, but conscience of the lost world. He clarifies this in verse 29 when he says, “Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other…”
He goes further by telling them to refuse meat offered to him by and unsaved person, who tells him it had been offered. Although there would be nothing wrong with eating meat offered to idols, Paul tells the Corinthians “eat not” for the sake of the lost person who offered it. He was telling the Corinthians to do nothing which would harm the conscience of a lost person even if there is nothing in itself wrong with the act.
Thankfully, today not many of us have the decision regarding whether to eat meat offered to idols. So how do these verses apply to us? Think of the concept which Paul is asking the Corinthians to grasp. When you are deciding whether to do something or not, consider how the lost world will perceive it. Many times, we have a tendency to look at an act to see if there is anything wrong with it. How many times have we told ourselves and others, “there’s nothing wrong with doing this” and therefore you do it.
Your relationship with God is not the only thing you need to consider. How will the lost world see this, even if it is alright? I would imaging that most lost people have an idea of what a real Christian should be. In Paul’s day, the lost world thought Christians should not eat meat offered to idols. When we decide whether to do a thing or not, consider that others are watching. Christians are ambassadors of the kingdom of Heaven and need to conduct their lives so it positively reflects Jesus in the eyes of the lost. We should not do things which cause the lost world to be drawn farther from the Lord.